Prime Minister Erdogan is defiant in the face of a sweeping probe against corruption that has roiled the upper echelons of Turkish bureaucracy.
He has appealed to some of his most loyal politicians to fill in the posts vacated by politicians felled by the probe. Turkey's stock market is plummeting this morning, sending urgent signals that Erdogan's tenure might be facing some very serious challenges aside from the corruption probe.
The Prime Minister has already replaced 10 of his ministers, but refuses to bow to the probe itself or to step down, even amidst loud calls for his removal.
It was the Gezi park revolt earlier this year, that first shone a spotlight on the construction debacle and the inner workings of Erdogan's sweeping plans. Many people had been critical of his administration, wondering why there were so many construction sites, and why many historic sites, including Gezi park, had to be sacrificed to the increasing construction frenzy. Now some things have become clear. Construction contracts had been used to benefit politicians and relatives, creating an environment where personal ambitions superseded not only historical preservation, but also the wishes of the population who questioned why there was a need for so many buildings and malls in a storied city such as Instanbul.
If Erdogan seeks to survive by cleaning house, he is, however, wrong. The denizens of Instanbul have long suspected that Erdogan's grandiose projects had illegal underpinnings.
Erdogan however, remains defiant, and accuses his former ally, Fetullah Gulen, who is based in the US, of masterminding the probe, and calls the probe itself a 'coup'. He even pre-empted a possible indictment against his own son, calling it an attempt to cause his downfall.
Opposition leaders have called Erdogan's entrenchment a war cabinet, aimed at consolidating positions and ward off further investigations.
Retaliation from Erdogan's administrators has been swift; 500 police chiefs have been removed after the detention of the sons of three ministers and the CEO of HALKB.
Calls for Erdogan's resignation however, are not just coming from the opposition, but also from friends, including E. Bayraktar, one of the ministers who has resigned after his son was detained in the course of the corruption investigation.
Erdogan has also pointed his finger at the West, citing shadow forces that are conspiring with the initiators of the probe to topple his government.
Because Erdogan's party and the opposition are divided along orthodox and secular Islamic lines, followers of the embattled Prime Ministers have no difficulty believing that the probe is an attempt to place more secular officials in government and restore the military's previous powers.
However, the circle is tightening, and the probe is moving closer to the Prime MInister and his family. The inevitability of the advance is causing visible divisions in the AKP party, Erdogan's own, which could pose an even greater challenge to the prime ministership and the party's survival than the probe itself.
Partial Source : Bloomberg/ 12.26.13